3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Just as humans are created in the image of God, robots with artificial intelligence are created in the image of humans. That being said, can machines think? Should they learn to imitate human behaviors? This piece of non-fiction explores the answers to the above questions while confronting all humans, especially robot developers, with a warning as to the inevitable horrors that could take place if we achieved robots with intelligence levels of apes or humans.
In Adam's Creatures, Or The Book Of Robots, the author, Robert J. Betts, starts by citing various automatons that existed both in mythical western antiques and various fantasy, horror, and science fiction films of the past. He discusses how the research made by different scientists aided them in obtaining information on how robots mimicked the behavior of small animals as well as their contributions in the laboratory and the exploration of space. He then talks about the exponential growth and moral issues of robotics within human environments.
When I read the description of this book, I was very excited because I relished the opportunity to learn more about robotics, which was what my undergraduate thesis was based on, although my project only sought to provide a balancing system for the robot using gyroscope technology. I was not disappointed in my quest for further knowledge, as this book opened my eyes to various researches that were carried out by certain individuals to facilitate better human-robot interaction. For example, I was pleased to learn about Claude Shannon's paper called, “A Mathematical Theory of Communication.” Also, the robot, BigDog, piqued my interest because it has a ring laser gyroscope for inertial guidance.
Furthermore, I was pleased to see that the author structured his message well and explained all his points in detail. I was happy to see that the author included images and flow charts, especially when he talked about the different robots that were developed in the past. This made me have a better appreciation for its features, as I had a clear picture of exactly what they looked like. I was also refreshed to see the illustrations. Additionally, it was nice to see that the author included an appendix that had some background information on topics like classical mechanics and probability, that one needed to know before studying robot kinematics or artificial intelligence. This will make this read relatable to people who want to learn about robots but have no prior knowledge about it.
Despite the positives, I dislike that the author often digressed by explaining certain phenomena that were not related to the topic. For example, when he tried to relate Shannon's entropy to mathematical entropy, he elucidated the concept of mathematical entropy, and he deviated to explicate what entropy meant in terms of classical thermodynamics. While it was important to highlight the difference between mathematical and thermodynamic entropy, I felt that he didn't need to explain the latter. The extra information made the text cumbersome.
Also, this book seems like it is professionally edited, as I found only a few minor grammatical or typographical errors. However, there were a few places where the text was difficult to read as a result of the lack of punctuation marks. The book contained absolutely no profane language. With the pros and cons in mind, I have decided to take off one star and rate this book 3 out of 4 stars, and I recommend it to people who are interested in robots and how they interact with humans.
Adam's Creatures, or the Book of Robots
View: on Bookshelves